Banana Bending: Asian-Australian and Asian-Canadian by Tseen-Ling Khoo

By Tseen-Ling Khoo

This paintings provides a interpreting of east Asian-Australian and East Asian-Canadian novels whereas addressing the literary and political cultures of Australia and Canada. It examines those diasporic literatures in multicultural societies and their placement when it comes to nationwide literatures.

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Ghassan Hage's influential article, "Locating Multiculturahsm's O t h e r " , examines the processes of tolerance in Australian multicultural rhetoric and offers a scathing critique of liberal condescension. However, the positioning of racial minority citizens remains ambiguous within the rhetoric of multiculturalism, as the definitions of diversity and pluralism have not often extended to include specific considerations of racial difference Ang argues that "Australia's desire to be seen as a tolerant, multicultural nation" is a 22 Banana Bending tactic "to vindicate a redemptive national narrative" ("Curse" 37), considering its historic involvement in the excluding and vilifying of those of Aboriginal and Asian descent.

T h e differentiation between generations of Asian-Canadian groups is becoming more marked as the communities become more defined, confident, and audible. To have the confidence to challenge the government and demand redress requires a basic sense of belonging and a certain assurance of community sanctioning. T h e Canadian settlement followed the United States' acknowledgement and served to underscore the legitimacy of Japanese individuals as citizens of Canada and the United States. Yuko Shibata states that the redress arrangement "prove[d] to be an important psychological experience, especially for former internees Time after time, interviewees had spoken of how the apology had made them 'whole persons'" (in C o o k vn) In addition, Kobayashi frames this step as testimony to the "power of coalitions" ("Japanese-Canadian Redress" 7) and "not the conclusion of struggle, but a precedent for social change" ("Japanese-Canadian Redress" 14) Having set this precedent, Asian-Canadians affirmed their status as authorised participants in the public sphere.

T h e representative institutions in which other cultural communities have found a pohtical voice remain majority Anglo-European in administration and management In a community and political orgamsation like the Federal Ethnic Communities Council of Australia (FECCA), the number of Asian-Australians involved is relatively low for several reasons, including lack of community confidence in participating in the public arena. In 1998, FECCA's national conference emphasised, once again, reconciliation with Aboriginal Australians and mclusiveness for all Australians T h e latter theme was a direct call to address how a body like FECCA might strive to strengthen community cohesion and to create or maintain the coalitions which they deemed essential for the future l o b b y i n g p o w e r of ethnic c o m m u n i t i e s a r o u n d Australia T h e A Chink in the Armour" Asian-Australian Space 21 ' m c l u s i o n a r y ' aspect of the conference t h e m e e x t e n d e d n o t only to Aboriginal groups but also to the less well-represented communities within FECCA, those with disabilities, and the improvement in rates of women's participation in F E C C A administration and other community roles.

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